How Technology is Transforming the Restaurant Industry

Posted by Piyush Jain on February 2nd, 2021

It’s no denying that technology plays an important role in every field of every industry imaginable. One such industry is the restaurant industry. It is one of the largest industries globally and its growth has been substantially boosted by up-and-coming technological innovations. From delivery apps to kiosks, to cloud kitchens, this is one of the few businesses that has embraced technological innovations with open arms. By surfing with the tides, restaurants have been able to meet the evolving customer preferences of improved service quality, speed, and efficiency. Furthermore, the soul dredging COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the inclusion of tech innovations in the restaurant industry. 

According to NRA (National Restaurant Association), over 80% of restaurants are quickly adopting digital solutions for online ordering, reservation, and inventory management adding to that, 70% of US consumers now prefer ordering directly from the restaurant’s native online ordering systems. 

That’s just an overview, let’s kick it up a notch, and delve into what’s prompting this mega transformation,

  1. Online reservation

    Online reservation systems are one of the most popular technologies used in the restaurant industry. Booking a table via a phone call has become a thing of the past as online table reservation technology takes on new importance. By adopting technology-enabled reservation systems, restaurants can now smoothly manage customer seatings, loyalty programs, and dining preferences.
    More and more restaurants are adopting to gather more data about the visiting customer for an opportunity for upselling and delivering new offers. Restaurant reservation websites like OpenTable and Resy have observed exponential growth, as more and more customers prefer making reservations online rather than waiting in queues like in the pre-COVID era.

  2. Contactless payments

    Since social distancing became the norm, technologies that enable contactless services have gained major ground. A recent study shows that 69% of customers feel more comfortable and safe when business owners provide contactless payment facilities. This shift has made QR codes mainstream and they are now available at many restaurants globally. The convenience of scanning these codes and making a payment without any exchange of physical currency has made it a preferred choice. Besides, keeping restaurant staff and customers safe, QR codes facilitate contact tracing which has become the norm for business in many parts of the world. 
    Besides offering convenient benefits at relatively low costs, contactless payments are highly secure. Users don’t need to fret as most of these systems now leverage EMV technology which is a highly secure and dependable way to accept payments.

  3. Inventory management systems

    With the help of inventory management systems, one can considerably reduce the time consumption in the manual inventory management process. Most importantly, the implementation of such software reduces food wastage by providing real-time stock updates. Thus, helping restaurants in minimizing over and under orders. 
    Being meticulous about inventory control is the key to cutting costs and maximizing profits. According to a recent report, 95% of restaurant operators state that the tech integrations have made it significantly efficient to manage inventory.

  4. Digital Kitchen boards

    Kitchen display systems are digital menu boards for kitchen staff helping restaurants streamline back-end operations. These systems expedite numerous manual tasks such as communicating orders with pen and paper or printed tickets, moving back and forth between the kitchen and front desk, and more. The digital boards are directly linked to the restaurant’s point of sale and can display orders according to the priority, at the same time, flagging any special dietary requests. One can also track meal delivery time and monitor inventory to signal when a product is out of stock. This technological solution ultimately ensures better communication, accuracy, clear workflows, and a sustainable kitchen operation.

  5. Scheduling systems

    Making constant modifications to the restaurant’s staff schedule manually can be a tedious and never-ending chore. However, scheduling software solutions such as 7Shifts or Restaurant365 make it easier eliminating a lot of manual work. These software solutions can aid in reducing labor costs and make it convenient to communicate with other locations.

  6. Self-ordering systems

    Offering a self-ordering kiosk means providing customers with an easy-to-use digital interface to place food orders. These systems usually consist of a touch screen (often a tablet). The screen displays the restaurant’s menu and guides customers through the ordering process.
    But don’t assume that’s it, self-ordering systems do more than simply taking food orders. They are more economical in the long run as they lower labor costs, gather helpful customer information, and eliminate human error. Additionally, by stationing a self-ordering system one can free up resources to focus on other non-trivial things. They’re especially valuable at places with high customer footfall, such as airports, and fast food joints.

  7. Air purification systems

    Eateries around the world are embracing the potential of new air purification technologies in order to make restaurants a safe place for diners and it’s staff. Improving sanitization systems through various air purification technologies is a growing focal point in the restaurant industry. Having air purification systems helps restaurants in eliminating any airborne droplets and establishes a safer environment for visitors and personnel. 

  8. Hiring systems

    For any business to succeed, it is critical to have the right employee associated with it. More so than anywhere else, it is an invaluable asset for eateries because you get instant reviews for doing a good or a bad job. For this particular reason, restaurant chains have started adopting hiring technologies to conduct efficient hiring of staff members. Talent acquisition software such as DucknOwl and Efficient Hire have become a rage as they facilitate recruiters in picking the right candidate and get open listings to the right people. Hence, leveraging a software system for hiring significantly reduces resource and time consumption.


If we look back a decade, the shift of restaurant business towards the adoption of new technological innovations was occurring, but gradually. However, being head-to-head with a global pandemic changed the game and accelerated the adoption of these technologies exponentially. It has now become almost mandatory to adopt these systems to not only survive but thrive during such unprecedented times. 

To sum up, if you’re still unsure about riding the wave - Find out what works best for your target customers and devise a strategy to adopt some tech in your restaurant. We guarantee you won’t regret it.

Author Bio-

Piyush Jain is the founder and CEO of Simpalm, a mobile app development company in Chicago. Piyush founded Simpalm in 2009 and has grown it to be a leading mobile and web development company in the DMV area. With a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins and a strong background in technology and entrepreneurship, he understands how to solve problems using technology. Under his leadership, Simpalm has delivered 300+ mobile apps and web solutions to clients in startups, enterprises and the federal sector.

Piyush Jain

About the Author

Piyush Jain
Joined: February 2nd, 2021
Articles Posted: 1

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